On the day I collected my first, and so far only, Porsche I was asked by a colleague at work if it was the realization of a boyhood dream. Sad to say for me, when I was a boy Porsche were not exactly a household name in the motoring world. So, no, that wasn't the motivation.

I have owned quite a wide variety of cars in my 45 years motoring, starting with an Austin A35 (948cc) and then an Austin Westminster (3 litres), before getting the sports car bug with two Austin Healey Sprites in succession, firstly a 948cc Mkll and then an 1100cc Mklll which had the luxury of wind up windows. That was when I started in motorsport and with these two cars I tried my hand at virtually every form of event. When I left school to start work, in 1960 at the age of 17, it wasn't the norm to get a car. You saved up and bought a motorbike, mine being a Triumph Tiger Cub (200cc) and then a Triumph Thunderbird (650cc) - a quantum leap! Incidentally all those vehicles also gave me a great understanding of mechanics - if it broke down, you fixed it yourself, unless you were pretty well off.

But I digress. The journey from then to a Porsche was the usual trip through mundane cars big enough to carry a family, until I took my first early retirement in 1993. Curiously it was during the first few weeks of idleness that three test drive offers came in. One was in a Volvo, for which I received a free Sony Walkman, and the second was from Rolls-Royce, whose dreadful marketing meant I never got that test drive as their only available vehicle was shared between dealers in Glasgow and Edinburgh. The third offer was from Porsche in Reading. I never thought that a Porsche was within my reach, but then I remember thinking that before I bought the first of my two BMWs. Amazing how one's perception of wealth changes.

A call to the Glasgow OPC, fortunately only about two miles away, set up a test drive within days. It was the launch of the then new 993 as I recall. A very nice Brazilian, Flavio by name but drove like Emmerson Fittipaldi, took me out into the country. His first demonstration was to show the advantages of ABS. I was pinned to the back of the seat as he floored the loud pedal before jamming his foot on the brakes - all this in sluicing rain with a steady stream of traffic coming in the other direction. Very impressive of course. Shortly he handed the car over to me and offered to go wherever I pleased. I had heard all the apocryphal stories about the handling of 911 models so no heroics, but I was hooked.

The single most important reason I bought a Porsche, other than the usual lust for power and speed, was their brilliant marketing. Over the next two years I received their monthly magazine, numerous catalogues to drool over, and finally an invitation to visit Reading, which was taken up and was a superb trip. Because we had traveled so far, both my wife and I were each given a Porsche and a driver for the day. After that it was only a matter of time.

In fact it was 10 months later when we went looking for a Porsche. A 911 was the automatic thought but by coincidence at that time I read a feature about buying a 968. Up here you have one choice of OPC, take it or leave it, but more of that later. I thought briefly about buying privately but when spending around £30k on a car I felt some sort of warranty was a good idea. Apart from two new company cars, my Scottish parsimony always led me to buy cars about two years old as I wouldn't cough up for the first year's depreciation. At the OPC the 911s were nice, though some were showing signs of rust under the black paint on the window guides, and traces of it were visible round the headlamp rims. The price guide for a suitable 911 then was around £40k.

Inside the showroom, sitting in the middle of some new 911s, was a 968 cabriolet manual with 20k odd miles on the clock. It was immaculate - in polar silver with magenta hide upholstery and hood, and more to the point was £10k cheaper than a 911 of similar date and mileage. A test drive sealed the deal. To this day I have never had a moments regret. It has still covered only 46k miles as I never used it commute. Now that I am retired it goes to the golf club four days a week and takes us several times a year up to the Black Isle where our daughter lives.

But what about the car, you should by now be asking. Well just last month I fitted a new battery - which I believe will have been only the car's second one in eleven and a half years! May was also the time for the car's annual service and MOT. As ever, the £200 service brought bills for nearly £1,500. Being a frugal Scot I like to try to sort out any obvious faults beforehand, the most obvious check being the brake pads. Big trouble - at least two of the wheel nuts could not be budged, and I used a spider with a four foot scaffold pole on the end. I had a similar problem a few years ago and eventually managed to drill and split the offending nut, but not without some minor damage to the wheel. I will never understand why Porsche don't use steel nuts. The alloy ones quickly flake away, and over time they lock on much tighter than steel ones. My own attempts succeeded in shearing off part of the locking nut so rather than risk another damaged wheel I decided it was a job for the experts. The garage tried a variety of methods which took several hours before they hit on the idea of buying a hole saw (19mm I think they said). I had actually thought of trying that myself but assumed they might have other, more effective equipment. Cost for the job was £80 plus £49 for a set of new nuts. Incidentally I noticed subsequently that Halfords sell a pair of extractor nuts which look as though they would be sturdy enough but there may be insufficient clearance inside the wheel stud recess.

Over the past few months or so I had gradually realised how difficult it was becoming to change gear. Another job for the experts. Apparently the linkage at the transaxle had seized and had to be ground off. Parts were £154 plus £120 for labour.

The specialist reported feeling more vibration than normal and suggested new engine mounts. I too had felt more vibration and rattles but who doesn't on today's roads? Another £232 including fitting.

Talking of rattles, I have a most annoying one which I am certain is behind the dash. However removing the dash brings on the air bag warning light. Does any reader know how to extinguish it please?

When I bought the 968 the wheels had a few marks which inevitably have not improved with age, and of course the locked wheel nut saga referred to earlier. I opted for full refurbishment at a cost of £200 but a superb job was done and the improvement to the car's appearance made it very worthwhile.

The car urgently needs four new tyres (though they passed the MOT) and I am fairly sure the shockers have seen better days, but another £800 was just too much in one month.

Other jobs I have tackled myself over the years have included fitting a new thermostat, fiddly but not difficult with a good pair of circlip pliers, and replacing much of the plastic beading between body panels as it has a tendency to contract over time and leave unsightly gaps. The rear bumper section actually came off relatively easily.

My next target is to get a professional refurbishment of the paintwork, possibly that is until I get a quotation.

Niggles? Well I don't think the coachwork is as good as on our various BMW's over the years. Indeed I failed miserably to get the local OPC to take any action whatsoever about signs of rust on the driver's door, and I raised it well before the 10 year anti-corrosion warranty ran out. At risk of being branded a heretic, I also have reservations about some aspects of the engineering. I seem to need new brake disks every other year though I mostly drive sedately on the roads and I have only done two track days. No other car I have owned has needed anything like that. Moreover the design of the calipers with their sliders may be OK for a day or two after a service but they quickly corrode and fill up with dust, resulting in jammed pads. I have also experienced the ubiquitous DME relay failure, a cheap item (too cheap I think) but when it failed I had to get the car transported to the specialist. Finally, the earth strap on the starter motor parted company a few months ago. Fortunately I have been able to effect a fairly good repair myself. The 968 is also well known for its harsh ride. Very firm springs and tyre pressures of 36psi are the basic reasons, but on the very few good roads I have come across the harshness is not so obvious. The dividend comes in the handling. On the track I can out-corner most 911s and all the Ferraris I have encountered.

I have kept a record of every penny spent on it, which reveals that it gets 23.5mpg almost no matter how I drive it, except on the track of course when I think it shrinks to about 9. Excluding depreciation the overall cost is exactly 40p per mile.

One of the real highlights of my ownership was a trip to the factory two years ago, under the auspices of the Porsche Club of Great Britain. We were lucky enough to visit not only their main production plant, but because that was on short time working, the trip included visits to their R & D facility at Weissach, their Specialist service, repair and preparation area in the original factory buildings, and a trip to the new Cayenne factory in Leipzig, where we all got to thrash new Cayennes round their magnificent test track. The track incorporates copies of some of the most famous corners from racing tracks around the world, it has a control centre to rival Cape Canaveral, and it is apparently licensed to hold practice sessions up to Grand Prix standard.

We combined the trip with four days on either end of the factory visit, partly to get to the meeting point but also to enjoy parts of Europe which were completely new to us. As a bonus, I was able to enjoy a few bursts on the autobahn at over 150mph, up a slight gradient and with the hood down.

The $64,000 question, would I buy another one? Well maybe some day but I still get a buzz every time I drive off in the 968 - and it still turns heads everywhere I go.

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